Colorado - Golden Gates Casino & Poker Parlour Recap

The Golden Gates Casino in Black Hawk, Colorado hosted another $1 million plus Heartland Poker Tour Main Event. Four Day 1 Flights packed 721 entrants and Matthew Shepsky doubled his first hand of the final table – he never looked back, going on to win his first HPT title and $227,864.

“It feels unreal, I’m very happy – I don’t have the words,” Shepsky said. “I thought if I got chips early I had a chance and then doubled up on the first hand – it was a roller coaster.”

“It was a tough table, those guys put on a real battle,” he added. “I was lucky three-handed, picked up some chips and it worked out.”

Shepsky entered the Final Table low on chips while local player Rich Dixon carried the chip lead with 4.6 million. Recreational local player Victor Taggart was a close second. Circuit grinders Matt Bond, Rex Clinkscales, Nikita Leshchinskiy and Garret Patrick were middle of the pack.

Danny Gonzales made his third HPT final table in a row – the last event in February at the Golden Gates and Club One Casino in Fresno.

The field generated a prizepool of $1,059,870 that paid out the top 81 finishers. Notables Chris Tryba (13th), Eddy Sabat (17th) and Stan Jablonski (19th) all made deep Day 2 runs. HPT regulars David Gutfreund, Reginald Shawn Roberts, Kevin Eyster and Ross Bybee each cashed in the event.

The Colorado event drew “Colossus” Cord Garcia and 2013 WSOP National Champion Jonathan Hilton. The inspirational Kevin Boudreau also made a return to the felt. Boudreau suffered a traumatic brain injury in 2013, was placed in a medically-induced coma and overcame months of rehabilitation to regain mobility and communication.

Bond was the first elimination of the day when his Ah Qh didn’t outrun pocket jacks. Leshchinskiy was next to exit after he moved in holding ace-deuce and Clinkscales called him with Ah Jc. The board ran all rags and Leshchinskiy was eliminated.

Taggart sat like a rock for most of the final table until he got short, shoved with As 7s and Dixon flopped trip queens to eliminate him. Dixon didn’t last long though. He lost a big pot against Clinkscales, was sent to the rail and Clinkscales held a sizable lead over the table.

Gonzales’ third HPT final table ended after he flopped top pair but his opponent turned two pair to end his day. Patrick was knocked out when he ran two Broadway cards into pocket tens and never improved.

Miller entered the final table as a micro-stack, three big blinds, and played his way to third place. He was short throughout most of the Final Table but laddered up considerably. His stack was ground down, he got pot committed with the big blind and was out holding 6d 4c.

Heads-up play began with Shepsky holding 16.1 million to Clinkscales’ 5.8 million. Clinkscale managed a double up and cut into the lead but ultimately fell short.

The final hand saw a flop of Ks Td 3h and both players checked. The turn came 8d, Shepsky bet 850,000 and Clinkscales called. The river came Ac, Shepsky checked and Clinkscales moved all in. Shepsky snap-called, tabled pocket queens and Clinkscales turned up 7d 5d for a busted flush draw and Shepsky won the tournament.

- Written by Paul Oresteen

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